The Earth’s magnetic field varies over a variety of timescales, from days to millions of years. In the palaeomagnetic group in Oxford we use the record of the Earth’s magnetic field in the past, as recorded by magnetic minerals in rocks, to tell us something about the behaviour of that field in past, and we use the records of that past behaviour to tell us something about the history of those rocks. The processes we look at can range from the sub-micron scale to the planetary scale, and can be used to investigate many aspects of Earth History and the secular evolution of the planet.
Potential research projects are designed in discussion with the student and could explore fundamental aspects of the behaviour of the Earth’s magnetic field from continuous lava sequences (Iceland, Namibia and elsewhere) or the ancient Earth’s magnetic field (South Africa), or apply our understanding of the Earth’s field to specific geological settings such as understanding the emplacement processes of Large Igneous Provinces (Namibia & Australia), understanding the emplacement processes of pyroclastic eruptions (Mediterranean, New Zealand), exploring the tectonics of actively deforming regions (Mongolia), or dating sedimentary sequences (Spain, UK). All our projects involve a combination of field, laboratory, and analytical work, and are accessible to candidates with a background in Geology, Geophysics, or Physics.
Follow this link to current DPhil topics in Earth Sciences